I’m by all means no expert in diorama/vignette making. In fact I see myself as someone who’s just started to learn the black art of this very wide subject and I recently decided to get some books on the subject to improve the basics and to get inspiration and I think I’ve bought three of the very best books on the subject!
Vignettes – a how to guide by Joaquin Garcia Gázquez
This book was the first one I bought and it was initially only released in Spanish, I think, but it’s now available in English too and it’s a fantastic book for both the absolute beginner but also for the seasoned modeller.
It goes through the “mathematical formulas” of angles – which I didn’t think of at all when I built my first vignette, although I was lucky with the angles I might add… Now I know why you choose the angles you do and why it looks best that way. He demonstrates this by building various scenery and he’s a phenomenal modeller for sure!!!
His example projects are on a superb level and still available for the beginner – just don’t expect to replicate his results the first couple of attempts…
If you’re new to dioramas and vignettes this is the first book you get if you ask me!
Master’s collection series vol. 1 – Per Olav Lund
This book isn’t as much step by step as the previous book. It’s more of a compilation of some of the best work Per Olav Lund has made throughout the last two decades – each with an explaining text and some demonstrations on how to make some of the effects.
Each page is a stunning piece of art and you’re amazed at what Per Olav manages to create with his bare hands, but he’s sharing some of his secrets and helps you creating the details that lifts any vignette or diorama to the next level!
I particularly love how Per Olav can tell a whole story by just a tiny little vignette – which is something you normally don’t do with a vignette, only with a more elaborate diorama – but here we have examples on how to take your projects to the next level!
This book is a huge source of inspiration and pure eye candy! Amazing!!!
F.A.Q. Dioramas – by Rubén González
If the previous two were precise and detailed, but limited to a few models this is the phone catalogue of dioramas! I mean 559 pages of step by step instructions of each vignette and diorama more impressive than the last, and each subtitle focuses on one detail, arranged into different chapters so you can easily find the reference work you want.
This book took several hours just to flick through the first time and I had to force myself from stopping and continue to the next chapter just to get through the book! This is a real step by step guide to how to make the details that are used in dioramas and vignettes and although it’s sponsored/made by AK, you can easily substitute their products with your favourite ones – or you can buy the ones they use in this book if you don’t have them and have just started to make dioramas and vignettes. It’s up to you.
The book weighs several kilos – hence why I called it a phone catalogue (white pages) of a major city but every page is a gold mine and if the first book was for beginners and the second for inspiration and taking things to the next level – this is the book you need to expand your diorama and vignette building to be able to create any type of environment from urband to jungle, summer to winter and pretty to wartime – all are there!
Very inspirational and a huge reference library all in one (very thick and heavy) book!
I did my research before buying these three books and I did a very good job if I might say so myself.
If you want to start making vignettes and dioramas but don’t know where to start, these ones are for you.
If you have made a couple of dioramas, or vignettes, but don’t know what to do next or how to up your game? These books are for you!
If you’re an expert in making dioramas and vignettes, well I suspect you already own these books, and if you don’t well – go out and buy them now because I’m sure you’ll find these books very rewarding and fantastic!
I bought my copies from panzerwrecks.com in the UK and they’re fantastic to order from. The books are well packaged and the price is really good.
I’ve got an awful lot of electronic books and magazines but nothing beats a proper book printed on paper! Also by purchasing books we make sure more books are made in the future so it’s a win-win either way!
As you have noticed I scored each one of the books a 5 out of 5 and it was a no-brainer. Utterly fantastic work and books I will cherish and treat with care in my reference library, although I expect they will get worn by reading and looking in them many times… I think I spent just under £110 on these three books but we’re talking about ~900 pages in all of fantastic and professional work and that’s fantastic value for money if you ask me!
I could’ve written more about each book and showed more pages, but you’re going to have to take my words for it and just get them for yourself – you won’t be disappointed! That I can promise you!
Update on Panzerkampfwagen Panther by Culver & Feist
It sounds like there’s hope for us non-Americans. Andy from Andy’s Hobby Headquartes is trying to arrange for overseas shipping so with a bit of luck we can soon order our reprinted copy of this fantastic reference book!
Are there any other books out there that you think I should review and add to my recommendations? Please contact me or make a comment on this post and I’ll make sure it happens! These were just three of some of the best books out there on the subject – that I could find… But they are fantastic 😉